Dear Danya: With English peas now in season, this chilled soup is a perfect way to celebrate spring. Both peas and tendrils lend bright color and flavor to the soup, and the rich depth from piment d'espelette, a French paprika, provides nice contrast. The recipe is simple to prepare and is great served either as a first course or on its own as a small meal.
Sweet pea soup
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: Adapted from LA Mill Coffee in Silver Lake. Pea tendrils are available at Asian and select farmers markets.
3 cups (14 ounces) shucked English peas
6 cups (14 ounces) pea tendrils
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, more as needed
1 teaspoon piment d'espelette, or to taste
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1. In a large pot, blanch the peas just until tender, being careful not to overcook. Immediately strain the peas and place in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Strain and reserve. Repeat with the pea tendrils.
2. In a large bowl using an immersion blender, or in stages using a regular blender, purée the peas and tendrils with the broth until smooth. Strain, then use the blender to blend in the d'espelette powder, olive oil and hot sauce.
3. The starch content of the peas may vary, affecting the thickness of the soup; if necessary, adjust the consistency of the soup with additional vegetable broth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed (vegetable broth varies in saltiness, more or less will be needed depending on your brand). If necessary, add sugar to taste for additional sweetness.
4. Serve the soup chilled.
Each of 8 servings: 343 calories; 11 grams protein; 34 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 995 mg. sodium.